When Microsoft announced it had chosen a new CEO, the Internet exploded with interest in Satya Nadella. From a quick glance at the headlines, the move was positively received. Nadella won praise as a thoughtful leader with a strong grasp of technology and innovation. Within hours, he had received the ultimate sign of arrival: an imposter began tweeting in his name. Twitter quickly suspended the account.
What happened to his real Twitter account was more interesting. We analyzed his traffic before and after the announcement. As you’d expect, his followers jumped immediately after the announcement—from almost none to more than 60,000 in a day.
The followers of those accounts also engaged 1.3 times on average, lifting the total impressions to potentially around 83,000,000.
We noticed something else. Nadella didn’t just add followers. He added ones who had a lot of followers in their own right. Microsoft, for example, clocks in at cool 4,100,000 in total. The Wall Street Journal also jumped on board with its 4,000,000-strong contingent. Mashable added 3,800,000 as well. And so on.
Prior to that, Nadella had had a very small Twitter presence, probably because he had not engaged on the platform for some time. But when he did, he released a pitch-perfect tweet that showed a good grasp of the medium: “first commitment as CEO…I won’t wait 4 years between tweets!”
That tweet generated around 21,000 retweets, replies, and other engagement in its first two days. This number may not seem impressive, but the average follower base of those engaging with the tweet was 3,852. As a result, that single communication reached a potential audience of more than 64,000,000. The followers of those accounts also engaged 1.3 times on average, lifting the total impressions to potentially around 83,000,000.
For the sake of argument, let’s compare that to more popular Twitter users like Justin Bieber. Now Justin may have 50,000,000 Beliebers, but they are on average much less influential. Many are bots or have zero followers. We didn’t run a full analysis on his numbers, but for the purpose of argument, let’s say his followers’ average reach is 100 (this is probably a bit low, but it makes for easy math). So if he gets 1,000,000 retweets, that gives him an amplified audience of 100,000,000. Nadella gets roughly the same audience with only 26,000 retweets.
You can also look at Nadella’s social impact in dollar terms. According to Adweek, Twitter ads on average cost about $3.50 per thousand impressions. On that basis 83,000,000 impressions delivers a value of about $290,500. And you could argue that organic mentions are worth a bit more.
Justin Bieber’s Twitter army certainly has nothing to fear (except perhaps another meltdown from their favorite star), but quality clearly matters on the platform. Nadella may have a relatively small follower base, but he already has 290,500 good reasons to tweet some more. We wish him luck.
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